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RFID News Roundup

Mercedes-Benz installs RFID-enabled MyDealerLot at new factory store; Identec Solutions intros RFID solution standard for oil, gas and mining; Ascendent ID announces RFID wireless encryption option; ASK selected to supply contactless RFID in Portugal's electric car initiative; Hyatt Regency Montreal installs KABA's RFID door locks and system; Dash7 Alliance offers free membership to university students.
May 05, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Mercedes-Benz Installs RFID-enabled MyDealerLot at New Factory Store
MyDealerLot, which provides real-time location systems (RTLS) to car dealers so they can pinpoint the locations of specific vehicles on their lots, has been implemented at the new Mercedes-Benz dealership at 770 11th Avenue in Manhattan, which just opened this month. The new dealership is the only factory store in the United States owned by Mercedes-Benz, and is one of the most technologically advanced stores in the country, according to George Cresto, MyDealerLot's founder and CEO. The 333,000-square-foot facility features a repair shop with 72 service bays, visible from the customer lounge area through floor-to-ceiling windows. There are nine Alien Technology readers installed throughout the facility at various chokepoints—eight ALR-9900+ models and one ALR-9650 interrogator. MyDealerLot provides Automated Client Recognition and Messaging Systems (ACRMS) using passive EPC Class 1 Gen 2 RFID tags, and consists of Service Drive Concierge, Zonal Location Concierge and Porter Dispatch functions, designed to help dealerships create new sales opportunities, enhance the customer experience, manage inventory and streamline operations with its Web-based client recognition technologies. The system installed at the new Mercedes-Benz dealership consists of both the Service Drive Concierge and Zonal Location Concierge applications. The first employs radio frequency identification to provide automated customer-arrival information; antennas positioned over two service lanes capture the unique ID number of an RFID sticker affixed to the back of an automobile's rearview mirror. The stickers are affixed when the dealership receives and stocks the cars; customers who have not purchased their vehicles from that dealer but bring them in for service will receive stickers at that time. When the unique IDs number are captured, the system references each ID with the customer information, causing a large plasma monitor to automatically welcome the individual by name. The system also relays the customer arrival information to the appropriate dealership personnel, as well as targeted messaging to anyone within the facility. In addition, Service Drive Concierge has the ability to automatically send a message when a vehicle completes a key process, such as leaving a facility's carwash, or passing through an entry or exit. Zonal Location Concierge is designed to assist dealers in tracking and locating vehicles automatically, and in reporting those vehicles' locations via a Web-based interface. MyDealerLot's RTLS is used in a number of other dealerships as well. At this point, Cresto says, the system is in place at more than 40 stores throughout 14 U.S. states, supporting 11 different automobile brands. Over the years, MyDealerLot has refined its system, which now supports passive RFID; earlier versions supported active tags (see Atlanta Mercedes Dealership to Adopt RFID at New Location and RFID Delivers Personal Service for Atlanta Car Dealer).

Identec Solutions Intros RFID Solution Standard for Oil, Gas and Mining
Identec Solutions, a provider of active RFID and wireless sensor network-based solutions, has announced its new certification program, entitled IndustrySmart. The program is designed to clearly articulate to customers that Identec's personnel-safety products have been prescreened and evaluated to ensure they've met certifications as part of the European Union's ATEX directives to protect employees from explosion risk in areas with an explosive atmosphere, as well as other certification standards set forth by the oil, gas, mining and tunneling industries. All certified Identec products will bear an IndustrySmart designation. According to the company, the IndustrySmart program's overall goal is to enhance the quality of applications and services within Identec's Watcherseries personnel-safety solutions. The solutions offer unique systems for customer mustering, as well as for monitoring lone workers, voice communication and access control, and typically employ RFID and sensor technologies. For example, the Watcheroffshore system—a personnel-tracking safety solution for offshore oil rigs—uses Identec's SensorSmart software and active ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID hardware to track the number of personnel on a particular oil rig at any given time, as well as their identities, based on reads of their RFID-enabled ID badges, and, in some cases, pinpointing each staff member's location. The system has an emergency function enabling oil-rig management and emergency responders to ensure that all personnel are accounted for in the event that something goes wrong, such as a fire or explosion (see Active UHF RFID Tags Muster Support for Oil Rigs).

Ascendent ID Announces RFID Wireless Encryption Option
Ascendent ID, a provider of long-range RFID systems for automatic vehicle identification (AVI), has announced a wireless encryption option for its family of readers and tags. The new feature ensures that transmission between a reader and a tag remains secure, to prevent the unauthorized cloning of tags and the eavesdropping of sensitive data. According to the company, the feature is designed for such uses as military base access control, stored value transactions, and shipping container tracking and security. The secure tag-identification and -validation system utilizes Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption to access the tag memory, and utilizes the memory's contents to authenticate the tag. The readers are programmed and configured with user-defined AES keys. The encryption option is compatible with all models of Ascendent ID's readers and tags. For multiple-layer security applications, the tags can be used to grant vehicle access into the first checkpoint, with additional validation of photo identification and personal credentials at subsequent checkpoints. An optional tag-security feature prevents unauthorized use of the tag, by clearing all data in the event that the tag is stolen from the inside of the windshield. All readers and tags support Ascendent ID's advanced reader-to-tag protocol for precise control of gate triggering, elimination of false reads, and support of systems incorporating anti-passback. For applications requiring that additional data be stored in the tag memory, the encryption option helps ensure that this information remains secure and is only accessible by authorized personnel. The company claims that its new encryption option opens up a new set of potential applications by addressing security concerns for customers who want the convenience of long-range RFID but can not afford to risk data being compromised due to unsecured reader-to-tag communication.

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